Finding a new puzzle #Life #Mentalhealth #Work

Good morning as we mark another milestone today. It was an interesting week, Plenty of challenges for everyone. I had yet another epiphany at work. All in all a good week.

I am up early for a dropoff for the last JV wrestling tournament of the season for Number One Son. It has been a good season for him. A season of growth and improvements. He had some tastes of Varsity. Some very good tournaments. He continues to get better and better. I am happy to see such growth. I foresee a bright future for him with the sport if he remains focused. But I for one will be glad to have my Saturdays back after today.

Number One Daughter had a very good but very busy first week of Cookie sales. She is nearly 25% of the way toward her goal! It has been exhausting to get there. Especially for Kim. But we have remained cheerful, and are getting the daily practice of reconciling inventory down to a science. In a way, it is just another project for us to do together, which we always enjoy. Something about the collaboration brings out the best in our relationship.

Number Two Son has hung in there in recent weeks. This can be a difficult time of year for him. With his sibling occupying the majority of our attention. We have recognized this and are doing what we can with him. Including his return to therapy.  And we also know that once wrestling and cookie season end we need to give him some special emphasis.

My work continues to get better. It is not without challenges. But the challenges are actually very interesting for me. I even had the revelation this week that at this time in my life I prefer to solve people over software. It is more appealing and interesting to me to try to find different ways of talking with my customers and making them happy than it was to solve software issues.

This marks the third week of having epiphanies at work. Ideas and solutions that came to me. It is really quite cool to be at a job that challenges me on so many levels. In retrospect, I think that losing my former job and having to come to this new job was one of the better things that could have happened for me. My health is better. My mental health has improved. And I actually look forward to the work.

There are challenges to be sure. Tuesday my brain decided it would be fun to start the day with a manic state. Which made the calls extra challenging. And exhausting. Some calls are definitely better than others. But I enjoy it overall.

So life proceeds. We mark transitions from wrestling to cookie season. We make do when mechanical issues challenge us. We work together to improve our lives and have some fun while we are at it.



Routine resumes #Life #Mentalhealth

Finally had a full week. The kids had a full week of school. I had my first full week of work on the floor. The kids were mostly able to return to their normal sleeping arrangements. About the only thing missing was the regular Monday events because of the crazy wind storm that shut the schools down. It felt good.

My first full week of regular work went very well. I continue to shine in the basics. With most every call I can feel myself getting better. The calls get easier. I can foresee doing this for quite a while.

The kids all made it through their first (mostly) full week of school. Which went well. No traumas. Jimmy even had a chance to wrestle with the Varsity at their dual. He wrestled well but lost. The kids all seemed to adjust to the new reality of Dad working again.

Kim even undertook the project of getting our room rearranged. Setting up her new entertainment options in there. The goal being for her (and us) to have the option of a place where we can go and hide away when necessary.

I don’t want to go overboard, but I feel good about where we all are. I don’t have the same feelings of boredom and tedium I had at my last job. While there is a general undercurrent of worry about politics it is not a constant preoccupation. I am not letting sports occupy my time either. (Although I am impressed by the choices my teams made for their new head coaches.) In general, my mind has happily been focused on work, and role playing. Which is a good place to be in for me, living in the now where I have control of what I am doing.

It is still just the first real week of the New Year, but the return to a routine felt good. And the new elements of that routine are improved and manageable.

It is going to work out #life #Mentalhealth

Training complete I am feeling very good about my new job. Being smart about my condition in order to keep it that way. An enjoyable holiday season with lots of great visits. Generally just feeling good.

My training effectively ended Thursday. We all went solo and active on the phones for about 6 hours. I was and still am confident. There are quirks that I still have to learn. But nowhere near as many or as complex as a software package. More like doing taxes again. The time did flow very fast and was busy so there is none of the tedium that I was dealing with over the last year of my previous job. It will be repetitive but there is a difference between repetition and tedious. And with the many opportunities available to me I think it will be a very good fit.

The Xmas holiday is over. It was a busy and active week or so. My brother came up from Phoenix with his family. It was great to see them and spend time with them as we had a couple of evenings her at our house. And then we all were up in Denver at my other brother’s house for most of the day on Xmas Eve. Which was really nice. Lots of visiting with various family members. Lots of kids running around like crazy people. Loads of good food. It was really great.

Then we hosted the other side of the family at our house for Xmas proper. Which meant a very full house again. With a Nerf battle amongst the kids and adults. A sit-down game of Risk Europe. Loads of good food. Lots more visiting with folks. It was also enjoyable.

One of the perks of the new job is that I had a 4 day weekend for the Holidays. And there was some talk of my taking the kids back up to Denver today for more family time. The kids were kind of ambivalent about that. But as the day ended last night and then when I woke up this morning I realized that I needed to be smarter than that. I am just exhausted from all the extended social interaction. While I would have enjoyed more time with my family and the kids would have been fine I realized that would have meant going to work completely done in. Which would have been foolish on my part. So in the interests of self-care I chose to remain home and take a day to recover. There are plenty of things for me to do here to get everyone ready for the week.

Life is good and promises to get better. We all had a good holiday season. I have a good job that I enjoy. I just need to be smart about how I live and handle everything to keep all of this under control and continue to enjoy it all.


It is a dark and snowy morning to ponder the week past #life #Mentalhealth #Kids

Got up especially early this morning. Had to get Number One son off to the bus for wrestling. Freerangewife will then take Number two son to a Scouting event, Later a trip to Denver to watch aforementioned wrestling will be on top. While Freerangewife takes the girl for some shopping and then eventually her own scouting event. All of this activity will take place on a morning and day where the expected high temperature is barely out of the single digits, and there are a couple of inches on the ground and drifting into higher levels. All of this activity is a frantic way to spend the first true weekend day that the Freerangegeek has to experience in nearly 4 months.

It was a different week for the Freerangegeek. For a variety of reasons, he prefers not to give the actual name of his new place of employment here. But he is quite pleased with how the first week went. It was a full week of rather intense training. He made sure that he grokked what was being taught by taking the time each evening to type out all his notes.

It will be simultaneously similar and very different work from what he has been doing most of his adult life. He will be in a call center taking inbound calls from customers. He will be tethered to a computer and desk. In these ways, his job will be much the same.

But he will be allowed, encouraged even, to have real conversations with his customers. And he will be speaking to them about real life things instead of focused on the esoterica of their computer software issues. He is excited about this difference. Because he is at the right stage in his life, with the kind of life experiences that will make this much easier.

Not surprisingly he has found that he is surrounded by people younger than him, in some cases much younger. This does not bother him as much as it could. In some ways, it even energizes him. And it also allows him to shine as his maturity and experience make a real difference.

The schedule is also encouragingly busy. With fewer breaks and shorter lunches. There is less of an opportunity for him to fall back into certain bad habits. In fact, it even looks as if there will be a chance to develop better habits as he can eat better and take advantage of the exercise equipment available to him.

His biggest concern, that spending all that time surrounded by people, would overwhelm him. That has not bothered him as much as expected. He handled it well. And there promises to be ways for him to escape when needed. Most importantly, this job prizes the traits that he possesses: punctuality, ability to focus on work when he is there, and work hard.

All in all, it was a good week. Work went well. The family adapted well to his absence. It is an especially hectic time of year to make this transition. But surviving this at this time will only sharpen everyone’s ability to make the best of it once everything else settles down some. He is very encouraged by how well it all went, and for the first time in a quite a while he is excited by what the future holds for him, not just his family.

A weekend of contrasts #life #Health #kids

The weekend did not start well for Freereangegeek. He watched his beloved Buffs get demolished while recuperating from a medical procedure. Then he spent the majority of the day Saturday watching wrestling, followed by another evening of football. Sunday dawned with a day of promise. Kids were given their assignments, a good breakfast was followed by shopping. Then a day of relaxation followed. It was a weekend of activity and a time of rest.

Friday was the rite of passage that accompanies turning 50: a colonoscopy. Which followed a no fun night of little sleep combined with no food. But the returns were all positive from the procedure, no growths or problems. Friday evening was devoted to catching up on recorded shows and then football. The football was fun for a while. But it became clear early on that it was not going to be the Buffs night. Which was okay as they were effectively playing with house money on this season.

Saturday came with the chance to attend Number One Son’s first JV wrestling tournament. It began well. As said son won his first 2 matches handily. It seemed that great things were coming. But it was not to be. A lack of experience and development showed in his last 2 matches as errors were made, and the shock of playing someone 4 years older kicked in. But a respectable 2-2 record for the day with real signs of improvement from previous seasons made it all a success. Even if it was a long day for the Freerangegeek.

Saturday evening was spent in more relaxation and watching two exciting and close college football games. It was entertaining, to say the least, and a good way to unwind from the day.

Sunday was initially devoted to household items. Cooking breakfast, picking up the kitchen. Assigning chores to the children. Then grocery shopping and meal planning. That was followed by some time devoted to holiday shopping and planning. During which Freerangegeek was abe to keep abreast of football scores using his early Xmas gift.

However, when he returned it was like all energy seeped out of his body. As his usefulness went away and he fell into the depths of televised sports again.

There was a strong set of contrasting events and feeling over the course of the weekend. There were moments of excitement and activity. And there was time spent in grips of the couch and televised sports. In all, it was a good weekend, but there were moments when it felt like time was being wasted. When his employment changes in a week the Freerangegeek will have to find a better way of handling the time when he is not at work better so it will not feel like as much time is wasted.

Easing back on track #Life #Mentalhealth

The beginning of this week was disruptive. Halloween day was crazy just from the perspective of the kids (and a change in how that went.) Then the next 2 mornings were broken up by early doctor appointments. Today was the first day this week that I have been on a somewhat normal schedule. Which means it is a good day to get some things done; and ease back into what passes for my routine.

Halloween was different this year. For the first time since the kids were born, we did not take them to Kim’s old neighborhood for trick or treating. Instead, we just let them go off with some friends and trick or treat in the extended neighborhood without us. That was a big deal. Nice for us to get a quiet evening at home. I made some nice country style ribs, fed everyone, then released the kids into the wild. It was a success for everyone and I am glad we did it, but it was definitely a change.

Tuesday and Wednesday mornings both involved early morning doctor appointments. One for Emily and the other for me. That altered my routine, I did not eat when I normally do. Danny had to get himself off to school on his own. It all worked out, but it was a change from my normal start to the day, which has the unfortunate effect of throwing off my personal approach to the day. That is just the way I operate, unfortunately.

Today, however, things are normal. Woke up a little late due to a late night watching the oxymoron that is an exciting baseball game. But the kids all went to school at their appointed times. I ate my normal breakfast at the regular time. Now I can actually sit down and get some writing done. All very comforting. Routine is my friend.

I have allies if I utilize them #Life #Kids

Today the kids are off from school as part of a 4 day weekend for Parent Teacher conferences. Yesterday was filled with appointments and the conferences. Plus some events for Emily. That really wiped me out. But I had tasks to do today. Then I remembered I have help.

I told the kids that each would be assigned a room in the house. And that today they would clean that room completely. So this morning I set a time to start. And at that time we all got to work. I kind of did my part, moving what I could, providing direction. It took about 30 minutes and boom we had the main rooms clean.

This was a lesson for me. I am not alone in this. The kids are all old enough to do their part. They are perfectly capable of doing the work when I ask. I just need to remember to ask them to do their part. Make it a group effort and even have some fun with it. Voila, the work is done!

I plan to start doing more of this. Some assigning of meals and kitchen clean up. Assigning days to clean. It is not that hard, and it makes life easier for everyone.


About those conferences. There were some surprises and some affirmations. We heard what we kind of expected from one group of teachers. It is up to us to help get someone on track.

It was also a pleasant surprise for another child. Danny’s science teacher was surprised that Danny was on an IEP and needed help with reading and comprehension. When it hit me. Science books are written with a plainer, more logical type of writing. It is just easier for him to digest information from that than it is for him to do the same with fiction.  It was kind of gratifying to realize that.

All in all, it has been a good couple of days. Which will make it easier for the next couple of days to continue that trend.